Upper Body Stretches

***If you have any health conditions or previous or current injuries, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.


Hello there! This is my third post on stretching and flexibility. The first one informs you about the benefits of stretching, when to stretch, and how long to stretch. The second one gives you many lower body stretches you can do after working out your legs. Check those out if they interest you! This post is specifically about upper body stretches.

Reminder: stretch the muscles you used at the end of every workout to reap the most benefits. Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds.

And now without further ado, let’s get to some great upper body stretches!

Upper Back and Rear Shoulders

Body across the arm

You can stand or sit for this stretch. Take your left arm and guide it across your body towards your right shoulder. Use your right hand to gently hold above the wrist or above the elbow so that you feel a stretch in the back of the left shoulder and left side of the upper back. Hold and repeat on the other side.

Clasped Hands in Front

Clasp your hands together and interlace your fingers in front of your body. Extend your arms as your hands move away from your body, straight out in front of you. You should feel space opening between your shoulder blades and a good stretch in the upper back and backs of the shoulders. Hold the stretch.

Lower Back

Forward Bend (with chair for support)

Try a forward bend to stretch your lower back, and use a chair or other elevated surface for support, especially if you have lower back pain. Place your hands on the chair with your legs far enough away from the chair that your hips push backwards. Bend forwards, shifting your weight onto your arms as you maintain a flat back. Hold the pose.

Dead Pigeon

The dead pigeon pose in yoga is great for helping to relieve pain and stiffness in the lower back. To do this pose, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take your right foot and cross it over so that it’s placed on your left thigh or knee. Grab the back of your left thigh with both hands and pull the knee towards your chest to get a good stretch in the right side of your lower back. Hold and then repeat on the left side.

Chest and Front Shoulders

Standing arm against wall


Place your left forearm against a column or wall that juts out. Turn your body towards the right so you feel a good stretch in the front of your left shoulder and chest. Hold the pose and repeat on the right side.

Doorway Stretch

Doorway Stretch

Doorway Stretch

Place both forearms on the outer frame of a doorway. Lean forward into your arms, feeling a stretch in the fronts of the shoulders and the chest. Hold the stretch.



The tricep pose shown here is great for loosening the back of our arms. Take your right arm and reach towards the ceiling. Then bend the same arm so that your hand touches the middle of your upper back. Use your left hand to gently grab the right elbow and pull backwards to get a nice stretch in the back of the right arm. Hold and then switch to the left side.


Side Stretch – Neck


Gently use your right hand to grab the left side of your head. Guide your right ear towards your right shoulder to feel a stretch on the left side of the neck. Repeat on the other side.

Front Stretch – Neck


Use both hands to grab the back of your head. Tuck your chin into your chest as you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold the stretch.

If you’re looking for a personal trainer to travel to your home and you live in or around central Maryland, contact me here.

See you next time!

=) Mary